10 Things That Make a Great UX Designer

If you are wondering about UX design, whether you have “the chops” for it, hopefully this will help you. From my perspective, I believe these ten things are a must in order to be a great UX designer:

  • Empathy – Trying to understand both the product’s users, stakeholders, and the business’s goals.
  • Being Objective – Obviously we are all a bit biased, but it would behoove you to be able to focus on the facts and research; not your own opinions.
  • Communication – This means keeping in constant contact with your client and the people you are working with.
  • Clarification – Explaining a bunch of research to make others understand the findings can be difficult, you need to be able to speak clearly and concisely to these things.
  • Adaptability – Depending on where you work, the “products” you work on may change drastically and it will require the ability to pivot constantly.
  • Organization – Whether you are synthesizing information, conducting competitive analysis, or creating a design system, these items need to be organized for you and whoever else may need to look at them.
  • Time Management – Scope can be adjusted, as can budget and end deliverables, but what can’t be adjusted is time; it is finite.
  • Leaving Your Comfort Zone – If you aren’t okay with leaving your comfort zone from time-to-time, for example: walking up to strangers on the street to interview them about their thoughts on a product, this career path may prove difficult for you.
  • Craving to Learn – Learning is a pivotal part of UX design, every project will supply you with new things to learn and there are always new design/prototyping programs that are coming out. It’s important to keep up-to-date with new software.
  • Openness – I believe this can be helpful in any career, but when it comes to feedback and constructive criticism, you need to be open to all of it and understand when or if it should be implemented/tested.
  • BONUS – Sticky notes, always have sticky notes.

You may have noticed that I included nothing about visual design. My background is in graphic design and when I took the UX Immersive program at General Assembly, it was humbling to see how anyone can learn and design beautiful interfaces. There was an ex math teacher, an ex journalist, etc., all who created beautiful elements that followed all the rules of good design.

Let me know in the comments if you believe there is something else needed to be a great UX designer. I’d love to hear your opinions!